Click here to view the manual to this game.
As the game begins, the iconic line "Greetings Professor Falken:" appears on the screen, quickly followed by, in a box: "Select a Challenge Level from 1 to 8 for Global Thermonuclear War". After the skill level has been chosen, the main game screen appears.
The continental United States is divided into six sectors, each with its own bases and major cities. ICBMs and bombers rain over the North Pole, while submarines inch toward coasts. Defenses consist of ABMs, interceptor jets, submarines and an experimental particle beam satellite that trumps everything else but weaves in and out of sectors on a fixed orbit. US units are individually far superior, but vulnerable to the destruction of interceptor and missile bases. Events proceed in real time in all sectors as defenses gradually crumble.
Enemy presence and the destruction of bases and cities lower a sector's Defense Condition (DEFCON) status. The DEFCON level for each sector is factored into the total DEFCON status. If it stays at 1 for 60 successive seconds, or if at any time all cities and bases have been destroyed, an automated counterstrike triggers global thermonuclear war and loses the game. The game is won by preventing a counterstrike long enough for a cease-fire to be reached. With eight difficulty levels, one game takes approximately four to eight minutes.
The game is visually stark and technical by 1984 standards. As in the original movie, the manual hints that the attack is an imagined result of a computer glitch; the counterstrike is not.
Click here to view the controller overlay for this game.
August 2, 2016
One of the first strategy games
Great game, still as addictive as when I first played it during Colecovision's hay day.
Controls aren't exactly intuitive, but easy once you get used to it. (have yet to see if the mouse could be used.)
Have the keypad locked:
1 - corresponds with the "A" area of the map
2 - corresponds with the "B" area of the map
3 - corresponds with the "C" area of the map
4 - corresponds with the "D" area of the map
5 - corresponds with the "E" area of the map
6 - corresponds with the "F" area of the map
7 - nada
8 - Map of the US (tracks missiles, subs and planes, along with the nuclear destruction)
9 - zilch
Once in the region you've selected, 0 - controls the ACBMs (only good for missiles); the minus sign ("-") - controls the airplanes (good for airplanes and missiles); and the plus sign ("+") controls the submarines (only good for other subs), as well as accesses the satellite which floats through each region (good for everything the rooskies are throwing at you).
Use the arrow keys to move the cursor to the desired target, use the Control key to execute.
Good luck, Professor Falken.
April 7, 2015
After pressing nearly every control on the keyboard, I believe I've found how to control this title. You have to make sure that your Num Lock is ON, and use the numeric keypad on the far right of your keyboard.